Once again, the NHL Trade Deadline is upon us and, as I do every year, I’m parking myself at my laptop to bring you up to date news on all things Oilers as we navigate our way through this year’s garage sale. Unfortunately for Oilers fans, the team is expected to sell off expiring assets again and it’s going to be interesting to see who gets moved, for what return, and how much salary Keith Gretzky will be able to clear for the next guy.
Despite the playoffs looking more like a pipedream than a reality at this point, I don’t see the Oilers being overly busy today apart from clearing out some expiring contracts. Yeah, it’s possible to see them pull off a bigger trade but I can’t see that happening with KG still rocking the Interim GM tag. That said, this team has shocked us all many times before so I feel like we should be preparing our bodies for something bonkers to happen just in case. All I’m saying is that there are some significant names being thrown around out there that could turn into something and you just never know. Regardless of what happens, I’ll be here all day long to cover it all, so keep refreshing the page and join in with your thoughts in the comments section — we’re all in this thing together.
THE TRADING POST
Looking through the contracts at NHLNumbers, the Oilers have a few pieces they can move depending on what Keith Gretzky and company are willing to do. One would hope that the UFAs will get moved for some any kind of return but you never really know what will happen on deadline day. Below, I’ve laid out the Oilers that need new contracts and took a swing at the likelihood of each guy getting moved. Do I know anything? No, don’t be ridiculous, but I’m going to take a swing anyway because what else are we supposed to do?
Alex Chiasson – After coming into camp on a PTO and eventually turning it into a one-year contract, Alex Chiasson went from being a healthy scratch over his first few games to playing through a heater that we haven’t seen in quite some time. For the first few months of the season, Chiasson was shooting at nearly a 30% clip and it gave a career high in goals despite still having a quarter of the season left. I’ve heard people mentioning Chiasson for a second round pick and if the Oilers can get that then they had better pull the trigger.
Alex Petrovic – Back in December, Alex Petrovic was picked up by Peter Chiarelli for a third-round pick in the 2019 draft and Chris Wideman (memba him?) as a means to bolster the blue line, and even though that didn’t really work out as planned, I still wonder if Keith Gretzky is going to be able to get anything back for him today. Petrovic could be useful for a team that would like to add depth for a playoff run, though I don’t have much of a guess as to how much he’d pull in. Considering Chiarelli gave up a 3rd and Wideman to get him, I’d be thrilled if Gretzky could get back anything close to that.
Kevin Gravel – For my money, Kevin Gravel has actually been one of the better third pairing options the Oilers have had all season and I’m always surprised when Hitchcock would play someone like Manning in favour of him. To me, he’s a solid 7th guy to have on your team and for that reason, I don’t think the Oilers should move on from him yet, but if he can get some kind of return then why not? Maybe a 4th? 3rd if we’re lucky?
Anthony Stolarz (maybe but maybe not) – Stolarz is in an interesting spot because he could end the season as either a restricted or unrestricted free agent depending on how much he plays over these last 20 games. Stolarz needs to play at least 30 minutes in 10 games or more by the end of the season or he’ll end up as a UFA on July 1st. So far, Hitchcock hasn’t given him any minutes yet so the safe money seems to be on him not getting enough playing time to maintain RFA status. Even so, I highly doubt the Oilers would trade him before even getting a single chance to see what he can do. Even if Stolarz makes it to UFA status, he’d probably be fairly easy to sign to a one-year deal.
Al Montoya – Montoya’s contract is expiring and getting an asset in return for him would be nice but…
Jesse Puljujarvi – It’s been another crazy year for the former fourth overall pick as he continues to look for traction at the NHL level. While many agree that Puljujarvi should have probably
spent the year last three years in the AHL, rumblings have come out that both the organization and player have had friction regarding what the best development plan should be. As a result, we’re seeing Puljujarvi’s name popping up in rumours with varying insiders saying that the Oilers are asking for a hefty price for the 20-year-old Finn. Will Puljujarvi be traded? I doubt it. There’s this whole surgery thing hanging over his head right now, his trade value is at it’s lowest, and I just can’t see the Oilers quitting on this kid quite yet. Not with an interim GM and head coach that won’t be here when the next season starts.
Jujhar Khaira – I can definitely see why other teams would want to acquire a player like Khaira, he’s big, strong and can chip in with a few points every now and then, but I don’t know why the Oilers would want to get rid of him. Yeah, Khaira is an RFA at the end of the season but I can’t see any scenario where he gets moved today.
Zack Kassian – Right now, Zack Kassian is playing some of the best hockey that we’ve seen since the first round against San Jose in the 2017 playoffs. Since being bumped up in the roster, Kassian has used his speed and size well and the combination has translated into a dose of secondary scoring from the former first round pick that just wasn’t there in the first half of the season. I could definitely see a playoff team that needs some depth taking a look at Kass as a means to bolster their bottom six, but he still has another year left after this one which could be a problem for some potential suitors.
Matt Benning – I’m including Matt Benning on the list as an option because I thought he could be a guy that gets moved as a means to clear salary. I believe Benning can still be an asset and a decent third-pairing option, but I could also see Gretzky moving him if the right offer comes along.
Brandon Manning – Lol + Crying Emoji
Kris Russell – The shot blocking cowboy is the kind of player that teams love to pick up around the deadline, but I don’t know how many of them would be able to take on his $4 million contract with another two years remaining.
Milan Lucic – Won’t happen. Honestly, it won’t. Don’t even think about it. Actually, you know what, if Keith Gretzky can pull off a Lucic trade today I’ll start building his statue myself.
Since I don’t really have an adult job, I’ll be spending most of my day cruising the Internet for news about the Oilers. If I find any rumblings or rumours while wading through the weeds, I will put them here. For those of you that have resisted the urge to join the devil that is social media, this will be the spot to watch to for any tidbits from the insiders, beat guys, or otherwise.
Hearing their is interest in Chiasson from within the Pacific Division.
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) February 23, 2019
Petrovic and Benning are two D-men I could see the Oilers looking to move today if they can find suitors. Benning has another year left at 1.9m and Petrovic is UFA, both are right shots.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 25, 2019
Nashville has scouted Kassian as recently as last week, but I do not believe Oilers shopping him. Sense is EDM would move one of Kassian or Chiasson, but moving both leaves them short this season.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) February 25, 2019
Quick hits: Bruins still hunting for top-six winger. Sabres still pushing to move Beaulieu. Chatter rising on Wennberg (if not now, summer). LA's Lewis much in play. Lucic also very much out there.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 25, 2019
So far, what we know is that the most important part of the trade deadline has already happened: Peter Chiarelli is no longer the General Manager. Since his removal, the Oilers have already been making moves as they pulled out the eraser to remove Ryan Spooner from the roster in exchange for Sam Gagner, while also sending Cam Talbot to Philly for cap space and Anthony Stolarz. What other moves are to come? Let’s find out together.
- 8:00 am MT – Rise and Shine, Nation. It’s deadline day.
- 8:31 am MT – Keven Hayes off to the Peg and that’s pretty much it so far.
- 9:07 am MT – Nothing Oilers-related just yet. Looking at my second cup of coffee though, and am willing to trade very little to acquire it.
- 10:07 am MT – Second coffee is happening right now and it is good.
- 10:09 am MT – Getting crazy now and having an apple
- 11:07 am MT – WHERE THE TRADES AT, KEITH!?
- 11:30 am MT – 90 minutes until the final buzzer. Will the Oilers get anything done? In other news, I’ve moved on to lunch. I’ve got some delicious vegetable samosas that I’ve been excited to eat all day.
- 12:00 pm MT – ONE HOUR LEFT! Surely, this last hour will be more entertaining. Has to be, right?
- 12:05 pm MT – Oilers can’t lose trades if they don’t make any! Boom. Nailed it.
- 12:30 pm MT – SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING! Or not… what do I care? You guys are here for the food takes anyway.
- 12:46 pm MT – Looks like Stone is going to Vegas. I’m just happy Calgary didn’t get him.
- 1:00 pm MT – There goes the buzzer and it doesn’t look like the Oilers are going to do anything. Oilers are in 26th place, have a few pending UFAs on their roster, and look like they’ll be doing absolutely nothing to clear out space today. Unbelievable.
- 1:05 pm MT – Confirmed by multiple sources that the Oilers won’t be doing anything.